Wednesday, October 23, 2013
How Black is White Hot
I love design porn. But I hate what white hot sexuality has done to me.
White hot sexuality - the articulating of what is sex through literary and philosophical means as expressed in film, art and video, portrayed within the white media to a white audience.
I was mesmerized by an ad promoting Lars Von Triar's new film Nymphomaniac in which several actors are made to give off what would be deemed as a "sex face" - face of a person during orgasmic pleasure.
This essence of behavior is something accustomed to the "pervert", myself included. In the past I have done drawings of just that women expressing orgasms. Much of this can be attributed to the artist at a young age - pre discovering sex and coital pleasure.
I remember doing drawings of stick figures having sex. Something I later called "stick figure pornography".
Lars Von Triar, much like those before him, Bertolucci, Antonioni and Kubrick are white male film directors who pushed the envelope of sexual dimensions. The subject matter was adult in language and other means.
Having watched most of their films, I look back in wonder as to how I was affected as a black person by these set ups, white charcters playing to themes and nature of a white pop culture.
The most difficult impression was that I come from a past where "white culture" made a big impression on me. It started in my youth having arrived in New York from Ghana. Most Black Americans turned their backs on me. I was quickly accepted into white circles. As an adult I grew up on white literature.
It is obvious when a movie is given a universal theme. But when it applies to several signifiers of race and culture one is left to wonder.
Black sexuality has never been given a turn in Hollywood or most European films. Having made adjustments to my reality as a black male, I now see these sex based films by white directors almost as foreign. I can enjoy them on the basis of sexual philosophy. At the same time I am aware of the characters being white, the playfulness stemming from white nature and overall the cinematic translation coming from a white director.
I can only talk to my past. I am not Black American. I was not raised on the Slave Narrative. I come from an African household.
This modesty grew to levels in mostly schooling with white dynamics. My liberal arts education saw me listening to rock and roll, chasing white girls.
In college, I studied Baaudrillard, Barthes and Umberto Eco. Baudrillard's Seduction and Barthes' Image, Music, Text are imprints on my conscience. The black male has always defied such a subculture of European philosophy.
Civil Rights movement gave way to authors like James Baldwin or the African American reaction to The Beats in the poet Amri Baraka. I don't come from that world. I read Langston Hughes as a student. I listened to hip hop (rap music). Most of what I know about Black American history I learned through pop culture.
It's all come to fruition now that I live in Harlem, having lived with mostly ethnic people past ten years in places like Washington Heights, New York.
White hot sexuality has almost been rendered neutral in my life whereas I draw a broad definition on women and the role of the female. This blog once touched on the notion of gender from that white philosophical base. As language continues to change I refer more to the notion of persona and inner turmoil.
It was indeed a shock to the conscience to have traveled through a world based on the white virtual female. That language permeated my literary spirit. I needed a gut check. I am not sure where it came from but I remember the first time I stepped on the grounds of Harlem in recent times. I felt its history. I sensed its past. It was all in the air.
Somehow I have rationalized the difference between my livelihood as a black male person and that of my role as an artist human. There is no difference.
Claudia Schiffer is just as attractive as Tyra Banks.
Tuesday, October 01, 2013
I AM NOT A CAGED BIRD!
I have come to a very difficult conclusion. To call myself a poet is almost like a curse. I can write poetry but to claim the status is destitution.
I wrote my first poem at the age of 11. Got published for the first time at 18. I've been through the rejection letters, publications in college, open mic circuit and anthologies. The experience at first was to exorcise the demons and ghost which troubled me as a child. First attempts at poetry were more or less inspirations from the books I was reading at the time, Prince and Pauper for example.
Perhaps watching the movie The Exorcist did not predate this and came afterwards but my poems were about what was living in my closets and under my bed.
At this point and time I was also managing attempts at art and music. I had a miniature piano in the bedroom. Mom and Dad were kind enough to buy samples of musical instruments. Not long afterwards I was studying at the MET, examples in art appreciation and writing exercises. And so my cup was full and my table was set. Any attempts at becoming a so called poet was pure fantasy. Little information was made available on who a poet was and what type of life he lived. I wrote these samples and kept them hidden.
At Xavier highschool where I studied I marveled at students who laid claim to the poet's revelry. They knew names of poets, other writers included, went as far as to imitate their posture and wrote what were indeed poems, written with clarification and wit. I was jealous and still I knew not what a poet was. It was clear to me that these were poems and my classmates were living the fancy of literature but I was less myself, busy with extra curricular activities including music and soccer.
After highschool and before I started studying at the School of Visual Arts, I started writing creatively. I had discovered the poems of Charles Bukowski and the plays of Sam Sheperd. With this as inspiration I had found two literary figures who inspired me as literary figures but also as men or rather heroes. I wanted to be them. This began a period and time in my life where I admired actors and musicians wanting to imitate them.
The very first poem I got published was "Twilight Time" written after an early evening spent with a highschool friend. The process was casual. I was going through difficult and dark times and so it was very reflective. But the writing process emanated from what was and is my creative mind. Looking back I don't remember fashioning my style after any writer in particular just letting my creative juices flow. The second poem which was published in American Poetry Anthology much like the first was "Sophisticated Lilacs" written as an ode to my mother. She ws very much a part of my life at the time, as a guiding light.
I have since been published in collegiate presses and other anthologies, done the poetry circuit, gotten to know the circles of egos artists and writers travel in. I lay this burden on myself to write and create. I come from other realms of creativity and as I create I have drawn favorable energies to me. To put myself out there as some one in need is wrong. I hope to channel my talents into future short stories, video, publishing and maybe even film.